Album Review :
One Sonic Society - Forever Reign

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Artist: One Sonic Society
Title: Forever Reign
Label: Essential Records
Release Date: 1/17/12
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre

Tracklisting:

  1. Beautiful Saviour
  2. Always
  3. Forever Reign
  4. God You Are My God
  5. As For Me
  6. Almighty God
  7. The Greatness of Our God
  8. Now and Forever
  9. Just to Be With You
  10. Burn

Jason Ingram has written many songs for many different artists, Tenth Avenue North, Rush of Fools, Meredith Andrews, Aaron Shust, Bebo Norman, and many more. Therefore, to think that he would lead a band, One Sonic Society, comprising of him, ex-Delirious? member Stu G and Hillsong drummer Paul Mabury; wasn’t shocking, but also wasn’t expected, considering I wasn’t sure how his singing was at that time. But it was before I heard ‘Forever Reign’, originally on WOW Worship Purple. A cross between Mac Powell and Bebo Norman, Jason’s vocals are honest, sincere, and hopeful, as he uses his songwriting skills to create songs that speak to the heart of many listeners around the world. Releasing 3 EPs throughout 2011, One Sonic Society’s first album, titled Forever Reign, released in stores in January. I was excited to hear Jason sing his songs, knowing that he is indeed one of the most prolific songwriters of the 21st century. An album of pure worship; this is one of the most underrated albums of 2012.

The album starts off with the earthy-toned ‘Beautiful Saviour’, creating a bass line more prominent than any song I’ve ever heard. As Stu G introduces an electric guitar reminiscent of Third Day’s Mark Lee and how he would spontaneously pick his guitar and play notes; Jason sings in his quiet yet powerful voice ‘…all praise is for You, all eyes are on You, God You are beginning and end. King of creation, Life everlasting, God You are a beautiful Saviour…’ This is worship at its core, as we corporately and individually lift up our hands and sing out, proclaiming that He indeed is the Saviour of our souls. With the impacting drum beat together with the reverbing guitar adding another dimension to the song, we join in with the background vocals, overwhelmed by God’s glory and wonder.

Both ‘Forever Reign’ and ‘Greatness of Our God’ are the two singles, one from Hillsong, and the other from Natalie Grant. One Sonic Society have made them their own, and though their version of ‘Greatness of Our God’ isn’t as dynamic as Natalie’s, it works well as the lyrics are highlighted across Stu G’s trademark reverbing guitar as he comes in slowly to provide his Delirious? sound to the song. The lyrics ‘…there is nothing that can ever separate us…’ always puts things in perspective for me, knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. ‘Forever Reign’ is a gem of a song, highlighting that ‘…nothing compares to your embrace, light of the world, forever reign…’ With a big drum beat and repetitious keyboard segment, ‘Forever Reign’ is one of the most famous worship anthems of today, almost in the league of ‘Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)’, ‘Mighty to Save’ and ‘Majesty’. Also recorded by Newsboys on God’s Not Dead, ‘Forever Reign’ is gaining popularity, for its simple musical sound, yet profound lyrics that can even impact the hardest of hearts. As Jason sings out, ‘…Oh, I’m running to Your arms, I’m running to Your arms. The riches of Your love will always be enough…’, we know that God is enough for us, and we don’t need to seek our love and acceptance in any other. What a sobering and comforting thought. Congratulations guys for the great song!

‘Just to Be With You’, ‘Almighty God’ and ‘Always’ are all co-writes and covers, appearing on albums by Paul Baloche, Rebecca St. James and Kristian Stanfill respectively. ‘Just to Be With You’ starts off with an acoustic feel to it, together with acoustic guitars, strings and a powerful drum beat as Jason sings out ‘…Lord my life is an empty cup, here’s my heart would You fill me up…’ and what is most powerful is how the song can keep so low-key, without much crescendos or big booming guitars, and still have the same powerful message as another anthemic song. Adding the choir in the bridge is a nice addition, and through its strong lyrical content, I’m sure that this song will be a fan favourite in churches very soon. ‘Almighty God’ is a powerful anthem as they come, creating an atmosphere of hope as Jason sings out ‘…Almighty God is our fortress, He is with us, God is with us…’ With the signature Stu G guitar plucking, similar to that of ‘Investigate’, Jason sets out on a journey, describing God as a river and ‘…refuge for all who come in need of help…’ A song of redemption for those who need it, what Jason lacks in a slightly limited vocal range he makes up for in enthusiasm and passion I’ve never seen before. Also bound to be a single at some point, ‘Always’ starts of with a drum roll similar to that within marching bands. A guitar riff starts as Jason asserts his authority in the Lord, that even when storms come against him, he is unmoved as ‘…I will not fear, His promise is true, my God will come through always…’ Covered by both Kristian Stanfill and Tricia Brock, this version is just as dynamic and refreshing as the other versions and should strike a chord with many listeners around the world.

With all the covers and co-writes on this album, I assumed that ‘As For Me’ was a song penned by John Waller, but alas, this song is an original. However, something is missing from it, and though not to attack his passionate enthusiasm in any song he sings, ‘As For Me’ seemed a little flat in comparison to other songs on this album. Music was good as always, but analysing some of the lyrical content, it can seem a little simple- ‘…as for me I will raise Your banner high. I will shout aloud your name I won’t deny…’, with themes also in many of the worship songs today. Though not his intention, this song doesn’t really measure up to some of my other favourites like ‘Almighty God’ and ‘Forever Reign’. ‘Burn’ is the last song on the album, and is a real treasure. As Jason sings against the backdrop of energetic guitars and powerful drums, we shout along with him as he sings out ‘…Lord, write me into Your great story, Lord, write me into Your great song…’ God is inviting us into the never-ending story along with Him, and it is our invitation to either respond or turn away. It is clear what Jason’s intention is, and as listeners, we are posed a question of whether we will follow the God of creation into new depths in relationship with Him as He shows us to live a full and godly life.

Overall: Though not one of the most publicised worship albums in 2012, it is nevertheless passionate and executed well. With Stu G on guitars, how can music get any better? He has always been my favourite guitarist, and now I love that he can continue to use his talents in One Sonic Society. With many favourite songs heard on the radio, this is for anyone longing to go deeper in their relationship with Christ, experiencing new, comforting, maybe even confronting elements of their lives that need to be uncovered. A fan of Delirious? or Bluetree will love this album. Well done for a good debut album!

RIYL: Delirious?, Bluetree, Chris Tomlin, Paul Baloche

Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3

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